Brett Marsh, DVM, Indiana State Board of Animal Health says producers need to remember that animal agriculture is part of the plan for homeland security. He notes that while work on a national animal identification program is currently underway, there are many other important steps for the future.

On the local level, Marsh says producers need to start by practicing biosecurity and facility security protocols. You also need to be familiar with the clinical signs of foreign animal diseases. You can find that information on the Internet, from your veterinarian or land-grant university. He also suggests getting used to paying special attention to the activities within your own site.

Local and state agencies continue to develop readiness plans, written agreements and resource identification. Marsh says states need to increase communication, as well as increase both human and material resources.

On the national level, he points out that the industry needs to shift the paradigm. That will require a coordinated effort between, federal and state agencies, as well as the various animal-ag industries. He says these groups will need to identify and utilize resources, including existing resources applied in a new way. Perhaps the most important component, he concludes, is communication.